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South African National Water Game Competition aimed at eliciting the perceptions that youth in South Africa hold towards water and water-related careers
Expanded Title:The primary aim of this consultancy research project was to elicit (i.e. draw out/discover) the water and possible water career-related perceptions of young South Africans in high school and at University. A secondary aim was to assess the effectiveness of the approach used to elicit the feedback from the youth involved in this research project. Conventional methods to elicit perceptions held by individuals could include, amongst others, person-to-person interviews, telephonic interviews and emailed interviews, where the interviewee is asked to answer a list of questions. A novel approach was used to elicit this information in which questions were embedded within a Serious Water Game. The game is based on the Mid-Olifants catchment in South Africa, and observed river flows are used in the game. The motivation to use this novel approach of interviewing the youth included the following: - The game is a web-based online game, meaning that youth from across South Africa could participate in the game. The questionnaire embedded in the water game promised to have advantages over other conventional survey approaches, in that the other approaches would either require contact details of the youth to be available, or for high costs to be incurred in order to pay for interviewers to make contact with large numbers of youth located throughout South Africa, - The game, in addition to asking questions (from which the perceptions would be elicited), also served to educate and inform the participants about water and the growing water challenges many catchments in South Africa face. It has been well documented that serious games are effective at building awareness as the players learn through doing. The intricate linkages between water, energy, food and ecology are better understood after playing the game, which in effect is a gamified simulation model, with the simulation model representing actual processes and challenges in a catchment. To encourage and incentivise youth from across South Africa to play the game, the approach was to hold a 30 day national water game competition, which ran from 18 July to 18 August 2014. The Mid-Olifants South Africa (MOSA) version on an online (i.e. internet-based) serious water game (Aqua Republica) was used for the competition. The German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) had funded the development of the MOSA version of the game. With the funding provided in this project the research team was able to further develop the MOSA version of the game to include a number of multiple-choice questions. The software development included setting up a database to record the feedback (answer to the questions) of all the players participating in the competition. The inclusion of the questions in the serious game appears to be quite novel. In-game prizes (in the form of cell phone airtime) were included in the game, as well as high-score prizes to incentivise people to play the game. SANPARKS participated in the competition. A number of computers with internet access were set up at the Skukuza rest camp in the Kruger National Park. Groups of school-children from surrounding communities were invited to participate in the competition, playing the game using the computers in Skukuza, with support by the SANPARKS staff. SANPARKS also generously offered a lucky draw prize of a weekend at any SANPARKS park in South Africa.
Date Published:01/12/2014
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Drinking water - Water supply, Sanitation - On site sanitation
Document Keywords:Technology
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Consultant
WRC Report No:KV 335/14
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0603-2
Authors:Letshela M; Pott A
Project No:K8/1068
Originator:WRC
Document Size:1 681 KB
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